In October, our 34th year, we hosted a conference in Riddel Hall, Belfast. I would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone involved in the organisation of the conference, all the participants, speakers and of course all the fabulous PlayBoard staff who worked really hard to make the day a resounding success.
Aptly, titled Play Matters this year’s conference theme focused on the interrelated concepts to Space, Place and Permission to Play. The relationship between environmental opportunities for play and the wind fall benefits to children’s health, well-being and development is well evidenced. The findings are clear – playing, particularly playing outdoors is good for both body and mind. However as is reported frequently in the press, outdoor play is on the decline. The interrelated conference themes allowed speakers and participates to focus on environmental, technological and societal factors that are thwarting children’s ability to play outdoors.
We were pleased to be joined by Margaret-Rose McNaughton, Department of Education’s Director of Children and Young People’s Services. Margaret-Rose opened this year’s event by focusing on the Departments commitment to play via their ambitious Play Matters initiative.
Key note speakers included Bob Hughes, Sue Palmer, Theresa Casey, Neil Galway and Harry Harbottle. It was a real treat to hear from and be inspired by, such a renowned group of influential experts, from an array of different backgrounds education, children’s play, childcare, psychology, environmental design and child safety.
One hundred and twenty five participates joined us on the day, and indeed we could have had more were the venue been able to accommodate bigger numbers.
Below is flavour of some of the comments we received about the 2018 conference:
We are already in planning mode for 2019 so watch this space for further updates.